- Allies prioritise collaboration over conflict. This doesn’t mean that conflict never occurs: it means that as a means of solving disagreements, it is not the first priority.
- Allies think ‘we’ rather than ‘I’. This takes the problem to a new level because it assumes that disagreements must be resolved in a manner acceptable to both parties.
- Allies explore the implications and potential of a ‘we’ position with curiosity and open-minded interest.
- Allies focus on maximising mutual experience of positive experiences and emotions. This doesn’t mean that it’s all about giving strokes and warm fuzzies. It’s a recognition that we as humans, run on emotion as well as reason. Our emotions fuel our actions. Emotions such as gratitude, joy, peace, trust, acceptance, compassion, have been empirically shown to be accompanied by beneficial brain states in the individuals who experience them.
- Allies look for and work towards a heart-head-gut alignment with others.
- Allies are OK to allow others their differences: they honour others’ differences and the work that they do. They recognise that people can be on different paths and that within these paths they can be at different points in the journey.
- Allies work on their relationships with significant others. They give priority to what they value.
- Allies cherish each others’ safety and security on all levels, particularly physical and emotional safety.
- Allies promote each others’ growth both personally and collectively. They recognise multiple realities and frames of reference and honour the people who inhabit these realities even when they do not personally accept how these others see the world or these others’ frames of reference. They recognise that there are often no easy answers but they continue to seek a way forward that honours both themselves and the others involved.
- Allies are committed to the long haul.
Points for Reflection
- What other allies can we invoke apart from individual humans?
- Is war ever justified?
- How many ways can you think of that might be used to resolve conflicts?
- Just as preventive health measures can reduce the incidence of disease, can preventive measures reduce the incidence of disagreement and conflict? What might these preventive measures be?
- How can we embrace disagreement in the interests of evolution?
- Is there a continuum between disagreement and outright conflict? If not, what is the relationship between them?